Cogito Patris

Random Thoughts for Random People

A Rant about Religion

A few weeks back my favorite country music radio station decided to send out a question for public discussion.  The question was something like “other than the religious aspects, what do you think about the possibility of genetically engineering the human race?”

This is a topic that I have given a lot of thought to and I was hoping for an intellectual discussion.  Instead, the first person who called in started making references to how it was a sin and it was blasphemy to alter God’s creation.  These are not direct quotes, but this one is: “God wouldn’t give you a child that you couldn’t handle”.  This was the point that I changed the station.  First of all, she didn’t follow directions.  Secondly this type of thinking is dangerous.

Now, let me be plane.  I don’t particularly believe in mass modification of the human genome.  I agree with the correction of life-threatening defects utilizing the genetic material from one or the other parent.  But I know that diversity is human kind’s greatest asset.  Mass modifications of the genome would reduce that diversity.

When I first started thinking about this issue I was also tempted to include persons who would be a burden on society.  Including the mentally challenged and physically disabled.  I could possibly agree with the physical disability aspect as well.  But I am concerned about what future parents might consider a mentally challenged person to be?  If everyone has a Genius IQ, would someone with a normal IQ be considered “Mentally Challenged”?  I have written before about how I believe that Autism may be a step forward, evolutionarily speaking.  Is it a defect?  The human brain is so complicated that we can’t really tell what the ramifications might be with modifications in that area.

Back to my rant.  I accept her right to speak out for something that she believes in (that whole First Amendment thing), but she can’t make me listen.  But what has really stuck with me is that last statement that I heard before I changed the station.  My first thought was “Do you take antibiotics?”  After all, “God wouldn’t give you a bacteria that you couldn’t handle”.  But the statement itself reminded me of something and I couldn’t put my finger on it until recently. 

During the dark ages science was considered heresy.  It was believed that whatever happened was God’s will and trying to alter your own destiny was not only an unusual trait, but was quite literally a Sin against God! 

That got me to thinking of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Courtby Mark Twain. The story involved sending a 20th century tinkerer back to the dark ages.  Mark Twain being who he was wrote the story such that the Yankee was almost responsible for destroying the glory of that period.  But hat I started to think about was the displacement of people in time.  If you took a person from 700 AD (approximately the time the Roman Empire Fell and the beginning of the dark ages).  And magically transported him to 1400 AD what kinds of changes would he see?  Other than lingual I couldn’t think of many.  Certainly not many that a “normal” person would see in day to day life.

Now, take a person from 1957 and transpose them from an airport in 1957 to an airport in 2007.  What would he see?  Laptops, cell phones, jet engines, color monitors and who know what else.  He would probably be pretty lost.  We are talking about a 50 year displacement yet he or she would see a much greater difference than that person who traveled the 700 years through the dark ages.

I suppose we could debate as to weather or not the last 50 years have been progress.  But we do have a longer life span and more conveniences.

Many American’s are confused about the fanatical Muslims that create terrorists in this world.  But Christianity is not free from some of those same horrors.  Not only the Dark Ages which were a lack of progress, but the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition and the Salem witch trials. 

We guarantee freedom from religious persecution in this country.  At the same time there is a plethora of persons and organizations attempting to convert the people with different beliefs.  Yet, as an agnostic (maybe even an atheist) I am reluctant to speak out in religious discussions for fear of the reprisal of the Christian majority (especially when I was working for a particularly vocal Christian).

I realize that my point has been lost a few times during this rant, but as much as it was the religious person’s right to speak out for what she believes.  It is my right to disagree with her vehemently.  To caution against fanaticism of any kind.  And to change the radio station.

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April 13, 2007 - Posted by | Random Thoughts

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